Tag Archive: Thanksgiving

Boxes of Love

Photo by Aemiessence Fine Arts. www.aemiessence.com

Photo by Aemiessence Fine Arts. www.aemiessence.com

The power of modern technology ends when the lights go out and batteries die, and Hurricane Sandy sent that message loud and clear to many people in New York City and the surrounding area.

Our NYC apartment was fine, we never lost power, and our neighborhood only suffered a few fallen trees branches.  

But as you know, the areas surrounding us suffered far more damage.  Our friend took pictures in the NYC neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Breezy Point and the Rockaways within days of the devastating storm highlighting some of the drastic effects.  I posted three of his pics here, and you can see more on his photo blog Aemiessence Fine Arts.

With so many people still hurting and trying to dig out, Mike and several executives and marketplace professionals involved with Cru spent hours at the Here’s Life Inner City warehouse in Queens cleaning up hurricane damage and packing Boxes of Love™.

The assembly line at the HLIC warehouse in Queens to pack Boxes of Love for needy families and Hurricane survivors

Each box feeds a family of 6 physically and spiritually.  In partnership with local churches, individuals and other ministries, the act of compassion by giving food to a family in need opens the door to telling people about Jesus. As Pastor Andrew Jagessar from The Worship Center of Queens in New York explains, “Being able to distribute something as needed as a Box of Love has helped position us as a church that is involved in the lives of our neighborhood.  It is invaluable.”

For the New York executives we minister to, being able to serve in a tangible way helps them connect with what’s really important in life: loving God and loving others.

In addition to helping to pack the Boxes, we gladly fed 3 families in need by giving a special gift towards Boxes of Love™ for Hurricane Sandy survivors.  You can, too, at www.HLICNYC.org.


Photo by Aemiessence Fine Arts. www.aemiessence.com


Thanksgiving!  We didn’t travel to see family for Thanksgiving, but rather, hosted our own celebration.  We enjoyed a twist on the traditional and enjoyed the beach in the afternoon after watching the Macy*s Day Parade.  After the beach, we opted to dine in a more formal attire than our swimsuits!

For dinner we enjoyed traditional favorites from both of our growing up years like Seven-Layer Salad (Mike) and Pineapple Casserole (Sarah).  And of course, we had turkey.  But I’ll bet our turkey cooked faster than yours!  We had Turkey burgers.

Missing Pops at Thanksgiving

After my dad passed away, I remember thinking how glad I was to have him back.  Weird, huh?  But no longer did I have to talk about chemo, blood counts, or hospital visits when people asked.  Now I could talk about my dad, about his life, legacy, lessons… and coaching!  I could discuss the man he was and my memories of him, and not his health concerns.

As Mike and I traveled up north to spend Thanksgiving with my side of our family, Mike asked if I thought we’d talk about my dad.  Strange as it may sound, I could imagine us not recognizing Dad’s absence so that we wouldn’t upset Nana (his mother).  We expected her to be hysterical.  But she wasn’t.  Sadly, we avoided a “public” conversation about Dad for most of the day.  

But I missed him.  And I wasn’t the only one.  While carving the turkey, one of my sisters commented on how Dad would’ve had a cow watching her that day.  Dad used to coach her through the carving process, and this year she felt like she was hacking away it.  I had to smile in agreement as I imagined Dad’s animated antics, miming the way to slice through the breast meat, and separate the joints.

I missed his silliness at the table, playing with his napkin after dinner, holding court with all his women fluttering around him, “oohing” and “aahing” at the succulent turkey, purposely mispronouncing “pecan pie” as dessert was served.  My dad knew how to say a blessing, too.  His deep voice resonated with awe, formality and gratitude.

I think we were all a little nervous about the evening.  But our friend Charlie joined us.  One of my sisters likened Charlie to tonic for he’s an excellent mixer with any crowd.  I think having Charlie and Mike at dinner helped diffuse the nervousness, apprehension and tension that I think we women felt, and we had a wonderful evening with a delicious meal.  

But no mention of Dad.  I didn’t have the courage to bring him up or ask us to all share a memory of him.  It felt like we weren’t supposed to mention the change.  I hope next time we all gather, I’ll have the courage to include Dad.  I don’t want to lose my dad again.


Getting Ready for Thanksgiving & Other Thoughts

Thanksgiving is almost here! With that, comes the realization that Christmas is just around the corner, and then a new year begins. I think this time of year can feel so full, rushed, hasty, last minute and full of potential regrets about goals unaccomplished, relationships to invest in, and obligations to fulfill.

Tomorrow morning Mike and I are volunteering with Here’s Life to pack “Boxes of Love” – pack boxes filled with ingredients for a Thanksgiving dinner. Area churches will give away the boxes to Orlando families in need over the next few days.  I’m really excited about volunteering. For more than a year I’ve wanted to find some way to care for people in Orlando. I’m hoping to meet people there who have connections to homeless shelters or other organizations that could use a weekly volunteer.  

Mike and I are flying up to Philly to spend a few days with my fam for Thanksgiving. This will be our fist major holiday since Pops passed away. My younger sister is celebrating a BIG birthday ON Thanksgiving, so in addition to the usual trimmings, we’ll also have birthday cake! Mike and I fly back to Orlando on Friday evening. 

After Thanksgiving we get to decorate the house for Christmas. The following weekend we’re hosting Mike’s work team for a Christmas Dinner Celebration, and I’ve got to figure out how to seat 12 people around our 8-person dinner table! Might be time to rent some tables!  

Life is always full and busy, so my prayer for the coming week is to live in the present. Not try to figure out how to plan for the “shoulds” and “oughts” in the future, or rehash the “could have beens” in the past, but to BE HERE NOW. And to care about the people in my NOW.